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Married With Children... And Still Working Out!

Bodybuilding is a full time job. Try doing it with a wife and two kids. Find out how Joe made the transition from working out whenever to being on a time fixed scheduale.

Hello folks! My name is Joe Hamilton and I am 30 years old from Baltimore, MD. I have been training on and off since I was around 16 years old, but really got serious about it 4 years ago. To say I was like a machine would be an understatement. Training has had an incredible impact on my life physically, spiritually and emotionally. The physical impacts are obvious. Body changes, endurance changes, etc.

Spiritual impact is more along the lines of being in that mental 'zone' when you are in the gym. There is nothing else around you and nothing else that matters while I am in the gym. When I am pushing out that last rep or dragging myself to the next exercise when I am exhausted and drenched with sweat, I really feel an inner strength that isn't obvious on the outside. Emotional impact is just my overall mood. I feel better about myself when I train. I followed a very strict diet and workout regimen, hit the gym 5 times a week and was loving it!

On one of my days off from work, I would go to the grocery store (sometimes 2 or 3 different ones, depending on who had sales) and load up on eggs, chicken breast, tuna and steak. I would then prepare my food for the week. Being single, it was easy to just eat, sleep, work and go to the gym when I pleased.

I was the 'workout/diet' advice guy at work. I guess eating tons of chicken, steak and tuna out of the can at my desk was a tip off to my lifestyle! There was a gym right around the corner from where I worked, so I would put in my 8 hours than spend an hour or two at the gym.

How It Changed...

Than one day, it happened! I met a wonderful woman, fell in love and this past June, I got married. She is a great wife & friend. I think that is why we hit it off so well, because we started out as great friends. I always jokingly tell people she won me over because she is good looking and because of her good cooking! She has two awesome children who I love as though they were my own.

I got our 8 year old son (at the time... he is 9 now) on our local amateur wrestling team. One of the proudest moments in my life was seeing him win 3rd place in his first ever wrestling tournament. He loves working out with me. I'll take him running, bought him a little weight set and my gym has a kids fitness class on fridays that he attends.

Our 10 year old daughter is a very smart, athletic young girl. I wish I could put her on the wrestling team, but mom will have none of that! As I said earlier, my wife is a very good cook. I had been used to preparing all my meals myself, but she jumped right in and helped out. She understood my lifestyle and was very supportive. She understood I followed a strict diet and a strict routine and she didnt want to interfere with that. She would go so far as to prepare a meal seperate for me and also cook a full dinner for herself and the kids. It took all the willpower in the world for me to pass up her fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and homemade biscuits... but I did it!

Sunday mornings I would wake up to the smell of apple fritters, pancakes and syrup, bacon, biscuits and other tempting foods. As I sat down to the kitchen table though, there would be my egg white omelet made special for me! After awhile though, willpower took a back seat to my cravings. I still stuck to my diet, but would occasionally 'sample' her fine cooking. Having a biscuit led to having a piece of fried chicken which led to having some pork chops and sauerkraut which led to me sitting home eating chicken wings and skipping the gym for a day... or two... or three, which led to me gaining a ton of weight.

Then It Hit Me...

Before I go further, I want to stress that I am not blaming any of this on anyone but myself. Continuing with my saga. All this continued until one day in July we got back film from our honeymoon and there was a picture of me fishing with my shirt off. BOY WAS I EMBARRASSED! I was totally out of shape and my stomach was hanging over my shorts.

Needless to say, that was my wakeup call. The next day I was in the gym, hitting the weights and doing cardio like an animal. I weighed myself that day, and the scale read 225 pounds. I slowly eased back into my old diet, which was the easy part. My dilemma was getting back into my routine at the gym. It was easy when I was single, now it would be a chore to find time to go to the gym. Having family responsibilites sometimes get in the way of things, but you have to make time if you want to accomplish a goal. My goal was to lose 20 pounds and get my body back in shape. I started slow, promising myself to hit the gym 3 times a week.

I focused more on cardio to lose the weight, so I wasn't really concerned with what type of weight training regimen I would follow. I weighed myself again in early august and I had dropped 10 pounds! The first 10 are always the easiest. Cleaning up your diet and doing some cardio will make it go away quickly. The next 10 are the hardest.

By mid August, I was looking for ways to up my gym schedule to 4 days a week. I knew it would be hard, especially with school starting, I needed to be home at night to help with homework. So my wife and I worked out a plan where I would help with homework while she prepared dinner and I would go to the gym after homework, while they ate.

The Results...

That way, I would avoid the food that got me to 225 pounds, but still have time with the kids, and have time with my wife after my workout. That plan worked out great and everyone was happy. September 1st, I weighed myself and the scale read 203 pounds! I had reached my goal and actually surpassed it (I wanted to lose 20 pounds, and I had loss 22 pounds). So now I am feeling great about myself again, loving my time with my family and loving my time at the gym. I am now persuing certification as a personal trainer and have set up a website with health, fitness and diet information for the entire family.

For the last 3 weeks or so, I have been trying to sneak in a 5th day a week at the gym. On occassion, my wife will get all lovey dovey with me and say "You dont REALLY want to go to the gym, do you?" To be honest, I dont want to leave her, but I DO want to go to the gym. I submit to her wishes on occassion and skip that a night, but I soon regret it. I say I 'regret' skipping a night, only in the sense that I am a day behind in my routine. I NEVER regret spending time with my family. Take tonight for example.

I worked shoulders and neck last night and was still sore, so I skipped going to the gym. Normally I still go with a little soreness, but I think I overextended my self with neck bridges and shrugs last night. I also skipped saturdays workout after some coaxing from my significant other. Even though she wishes I wouldnt go to the gym so much, and tries to talk me out of going on occassion, my wife is one of my inspirations and motivations in working out.

I want to look good not only for myself, but also for her. I know she loved me when I was overweight, but I doubt she was too happy with how I looked. I know I wasn't. I want to be healthy so I can live longer and therefore be with her and our kids for a longer time. So now I am back to eating tuna out of the can, having baked chicken breast while the rest of my family has fried chicken and trying to find time for the gym. I will try to get that picture of me scanned so I can add it on my next article. That will be my 'before' pic!